HOUSTON – Christopher Michael Collins, 41, was charged with the murder of his wife six days after she was found dead in the couple’s Cypress area home. Detectives said Yuan Hua Liang, 46, died from a single gunshot wound to the head on Nov. 18.
During a probable cause hearing, a prosecutor stated investigators said Collins asked Harris County sheriff’s deputies to check on his wife at their house in the Westgate subdivision. Detectives said Collins claimed while he was at the gym and grabbing a bite to eat, he received a text message from his wife.
“The text stated that someone was outside the residence, the defendant stated he texted the complainant back and she did not respond,” a prosecutor told the court.
Detectives said Collins arrived at the house after deputies and let them in through the front door.
“The officer stated once the front door was open the defendant stood in the doorway not moving for several seconds,” the prosecutor said.
Deputies said Collins’ wife was found shot to death in the living room and a cloth bag had been placed over her face.
“(There were) no signs of forced entry into the home from inside. The officers observed the backdoor was unlocked, and four dogs were in the backyard,” the prosecutor said.
Investigators said there were no signs of a struggle in the home and nothing appeared to have been stolen. Detectives noticed the home was equipped with cameras that could be remotely viewed. Detectives then asked Collins if he checked the cameras after not being able to reach his wife.
“The defendant stated, ‘no,’ he doesn’t know why he didn’t check. The defendant stated he doesn’t know why he didn’t go straight home. Didn’t know why he remained at the gym for 45 minutes, it was only 3.5 miles from his home,” the prosecutor said.
Investigators said Collins also told them he was driving a rental car because his car had been repossessed. Detectives asked if Collins and his wife had life insurance and stated he said they did not because they had missed a payment.
“Officers who searched the home found a sheet of paper on the desk inside the residence, the paper was for life insurance for $250,000,” a prosecutor said. “The officer stated that the defendant and the complainant had signed the paper for life insurance on Nov. 16, 2021.”
Prosecutors further stated that when investigators asked Collins if there was a gun in the house he said there should be a 9mm handgun in the laundry room. Collins told detectives his wife bought the gun because he did not like guns. Collins also told investigators there was no ammunition in the house, even though detectives later found a .22 caliber bullet in his pants.
Detectives said the medical examiner ruled Liang’s cause of death to be a single gunshot wound to the head from a small-caliber weapon. She had no other injuries. The prosecutor stated the ME also reported Liang was wearing a sleep mask when she was shot and the brown bag over her face appeared to have been placed there after she was shot.
Detectives said when they checked the surveillance video of the gym they saw Collins only worked out for about five minutes, but kept going in and out of the locker room. Investigators said they later found Liang’s wallet, along with her IDs, passport, bank cards and cash in one of the locked lockers. Her cosmetic bag was also found in the locker, according to detectives.
Detectives said surveillance video showed the last time Liang and Collins were at the gym was Nov. 8 and neither appeared to use the locker rooms. Detectives said gym staff informed them the lockers were last swept on Nov. 13 and any items found in the lockers would have been removed and placed in lost-and-found.
Detectives said they had been called to the couple’s home two weeks prior to the murder after a suspicious man was reported to be in their backyard. No other details were given about that incident. The prosecutor said on the day of the murder, investigators also interviewed a witness “who heard two individuals arguing from the direction of that home.”
Collins was not present during the probable cause hearing, the magistrate stated he was undergoing a mental health evaluation at the jail. His bond was set at $150,000 and he remains in the Harris County Jail. Prosecutors asked for a $200,000 bond writing, “The defendant murdered his wife with a firearm, then went to great lengths to make it look like she was killed by an intruder.”
A search of Harris County civil court records show the couple was sued in 2016 by their Homeowner’s Association for unpaid assessments and legal fees. Court records show the Association won a default judgment of more than $4,000 plus interest because Collins and Liang did not show up to court.
Court records are not clear on this point, but show an initial order to seize and sell the house was cancelled, followed by several more cancelations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the couple received a notice on Oct. 29 another sale was scheduled for Nov. 2. That was the last document listed in the court record.
When KPRC contacted the Precinct 5 Constable’s Office, we were told that sale had also been cancelled because the fees had been paid. Messages left for the Homeowner’s Association and attorney representing the association have not yet been returned.
A review of social media profiles show Collins was an artist and his wife, who appeared to go by the nick-name of Kiki, recently started business that offers to handle the social media profiles of other businesses.
Residents of the neighborhood who knew the couple said they showed no outward sigs of trouble, financial or otherwise. Another friend of the couple, who asked not to be identified, said Liang’s family live overseas but were on their way to Houston.